|Eph 4:11-13: It was he who gave some to be
apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and
teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be
built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and
become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
1:20-21: Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about
by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man,
but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
I Jn 2:27: As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in
you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all
things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain
Claritas Scripturae. The efficaciousness or sufficiency of
scripture to communicate its message to humanity. It was one of the clarion calls of
the Protestant Reformation. Reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin used the
term to argue that scripture was not the custody of only the church elite but could be
read and understood by all Christians. This was a rich insight, for it freed
up whole generations of Christians to more directly encounter God's Word, whereas before
many had only received it in mediated forms through sermon, play, and visual art.
However, this term was later abused by some who used it to suggest that readers of
scripture could safely ignore the gifts of scholarship, as well as the teaching of
other Christians. Some went so far as to believe that a Christian's personal
understanding of scripture was not open to any external test or gauge of its validity.
This was a radical individualism that the Reformers would have been shocked by.
Luther and Calvin did not understand the clarity of scripture to
suggest that it was not in need of interpretation but that it was sufficient for its
purpose and that scripture possessed the resources to test the fallible understanding of
each generation of the church. Indeed, scripture could act as a corrector and
refiner of received understanding. That corrective is mediated via the community of
interpreters. Scripture is not the sole trust of any one class of Christians, and as
such, it is therefore best understood by bringing together the insights of the larger
people of God.
Christians hold that scripture carries a certain authority and
perfection that no other text has. It therefore has a uniqueness that sets it apart
in vital ways from other works. The teaching of God's Word is without fault, while
other human works always carry some fault line of error. Yet scripture also shares a
human element with such texts. The clarity of scripture reminds us that human texts
are best understood in a community of interpreters. We need multiple counsel to
explicate meaning. Equally, scripture's clarity also reminds us that texts are
partially independent of our understanding of them. They have the power to challenge
us, to confound us, or even to reform us. If literature's meaning is mediated
through communities, it is not the sole property of them. It can speak from
* * * * *
Central Insight: Textual meaning is
not exclusive to the insights of a community; texts can also challenge and change
Suggestions for Application: Examine
how a particular text has challenged or even changed your thinking on a subject.